Oil futures settled with a gain on Thursday following two consecutive sessions of declines, which pulled prices below $50 a barrel for the first time in a week. Traders looked ahead to a meeting this weekend of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other crude producers, with expectations that that the nations will shore up a deal to curb output. January West Texas Intermediate crude rose $1.07, or 2.2%, to settle at $50.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 2.3% to finish at $49.77 on Wednesday for its lowest settlement since Nov. 30.
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